Two least flycatchers banded at the BBO and recovered in Guatemala give clues to their migratory route.
The second banded bird was recovered in the Sierra Madres Mountains, south-west of the Sierra Los Cuchumatanes range. Although the Sierra Los Cuchumatanes mountains block the way to the Gulf of Mexico from this location, nearby is the Selegua River, which eventually drains into the Gulf.
Birds following the gulf coast of Mexico or travelling across the gulf would have the option of following this river system, entering Central America without crossing any mountain ranges. Data like this, combined with other recaptures of migrating birds, is important for building understanding of the migratory habits of birds like the least flycatcher.
An American Peace Corps volunteer who reported the band helped start relationships with local conservation groups that allowed BBO personnel to travel to Guatemala and survey birds from 1993 to 1995. The results of those surveys helped rewrite outdated range maps and document new records for both migrant and resident birds (Dowell et al. unpublished data 1994). All this due to a tiny bird that flew over 4500km after being banded at the BBO.
Literature Cited:America Ornithological Union. 1975. Check-list of North American Birds, 5th Edition. Port City Press, Inc., Baltimore, Maryland. Briskie, J.V. 1994. Least Flycatcher (Empidonax minimus). In The Birds of North America, No. 99 (A. Poole and F. Gill, Eds.). Philadelphia: The Academy of Natural Science; Washington, D.C.: The American Ornithologists' Union. Dowell, B.A., G.L. Holroyd, C.S. Robbins. Bird habitat survey of Cerro San Gil and Polochic Delta, Guatemala. Technical Report, United States Biological Survey, Maryland. Jungkind, S. 1990. Beaverhill Bird Observatory Ten Year Summary Report (1980-89). Beaverhill Bird Observatory.